Friday, July 1, 2011

Rocky Mountain Omnium

Ryan Taylor laps the field on his way to winning the criterium as well as the overall!

Peter Schimpf, the State TT champion, wins the Leg Breaker TT!

Ryan Taylor, Peter Schimpf, Paul Shumate, and Ciro Zarate tested there legs in the three day Rocky Mountain Omnium. All four Foxtrot Racing members showed excellent form and as a team dominated the weekend.




Peter Schimpf's RMO report:


We all know that at the professional level, cycling is a team sport. Among the amateur ranks, however, it is most often every man (or woman) for themselves. Teams are actually clubs. To work as a team in a race requires not just a certain degree of sacrifice among the other teammates, but a level of fitness among all of the riders in the team that allows for a strategy to actually be implemented. I might want to give a teammate a leadout in a race at the end of the crit, but I might not even have the fitness to get to the front of the pack in the first place. It takes practice and organization to work team tactics. That being said, this weekend was an instructive lesson in what an amateur team is capable of with just a small amount of organization. Going into this race I realized that we had 4 strong riders in the 3s, and that that would be the largest team in the field. We had to find a way to take advantage.

Friday Time Trial:
Friday's opening time trial confirmed that we were all in relatively good form. Having won the state tt the week before I was very motivated to confirm my time trialing abilities, and I was more relived than anything else to get the win. Ciro put in an impressive effort for 5th, and Ryan and Paul really showed their strength by finishing right behind on modified road bikes with limited aero gear. Those two are going to really be dangerous when they get full-fledged tt bikes. We were all now well-placed for a strong overall showing at the omnium

Saturday Criterium:
The criterium offered us the best opportunity to use team tactics. With a flat, non-technical course, a strategy of any kind was likely going to give us a better chance than an every-man-for-himself approach employed by the other teams (and individual riders).

Since I was leading the omnium, we discussed how to put me in the best position for a high placing or even the win. Paul, Ryan, and Ciro were all willing to do whatever was needed to help. We decided that I would try and go off the front somewhere about midrace, and that the remaining team members would disrupt any chase, slow the pack down, or follow the wheels of an attacker. If I was caught, either someone else would go or we would stay together and try to line up a spring for Ryan, who probably has the best final kick on the team.

We also planned, if the opportunity arouse, to send either Ryan, Paul, or Ciro off the front early to make the other guys chase. In addition, we would go after any early break that included two or more riders. It was entirely unlikely that a solo rider would get away and stay away early in the race.

As the race started, we all very quickly moved up front to keep tabs on the action. Cressy attacked, as did a BRC guy and Petrowski, but they all failed as they were solo attacks. At one point two guys went up the road and Ciro and I quickly closed it down. As we came up on the first prime, Ryan was on the front and I was sitting second wheel. Someone from the field jumped to get the prime, but looked as though he was fading quickly. I yelled to Ryan to go after the prime if he wanted it since he was in a good position on the front. I'm not sure he heard me, but he did try to chase the guy down before the line. A rider from the Honey Stinger team went with him. And while they didn't manage to catch the guy at the line, the did manage a big gap on the field.

I was now on the front and decided to significantly relax the pace of the field. The two man break now turned the corner and was out of sight. A few individual riders tried to up the pace, but with either Ciro, Paul, or myself always sitting second wheel, there was no follow through, so the pace would go up and then drop significantly. Ryan and the other rider held about a 15-20 gap for several laps, until the field started to get really frustrated with Foxtrot. It became very obvious what we were doing. I could even hear the announcer explaining to the spectators what was going on. "Foxtrot is totally controlling this race, riding false tempo at the front." It was actually a blast sitting in the field and disrupting things. A few riders in the pack knew what we were doing, and others got really pissed off. It was amazing that the pack would let us ride to the front and then sit up and coast without immediately jumping around us and upping the tempo.

Meanwhile, Ryan and the other guy were absolutely drilling it in the break. So much so that at about 45 minutes in, the lead motorcycle suddenly zipped around our pack, indicating that we had, in fact, been lapped by the break! After the final field sprint we went in search of Ryan to find out if he finished 1st or second. He had won. We were all excited as if we had each individually won. Ryan had put in a huge effort and we as a team were able to make sure that effort was rewarded.

Road Race:
With Ryan now in the overall omnium lead, and with some short but steep climbs in the day's profile, it was clear that our mission was to do whatever we could to ensure that Ryan got the highest placing possible in the road race and secure the overall victory. Ciro and I would control the race at the start, set the tempo, chase any dangerous breaks, and deliver Ryan safely to the first climb. Paul was likely to be able to hang with the lead group over the climbs, so he would look after Ryan from that point onward.

Right from the start a few riders tried individual attacks, most of which we ignored, unless there were two or more riders in it. Ciro and I spent about 98% of the first half of the race on the front. Chris Johnson, a strong overall rider made a break, and another guy followed. Neither was likely to stay away the whole time, and neither was a threat for the overall, so we let them go (ultimately both would finish towards the back). We tried to mark Cressy and Petrowski a bit more closely. I was slightly concerned about the 5 or 6 mile dirt section ahead of the first climb, so I made sure we were all gather at the front. Coming into the dirt, we were perfectly lined up with me on the front, Ciro behind, and Ryan behind him. I pushed the tempo a bit on the dirt to make sure the pack was a little strung out and to avoid any dangerous bunching by the pack (which I had witnessed two years ago on this same stretch). No one came around so I was on the front for the entire length of the dirt section leading to the climb. As anticipated, as soon as we negotiated some tight turns and faced the short, steep climb that would ultimately break the pack, the accelerations happened. Ciro and I immediately went backwards, while Ryan, Paul and about 6 or 7 others formed a select group.

I was able to get in with a group of 8 on the way back. We assumed we were totally out of it, but as it turns out the winner from our group actually finished 10th. I was 13th. I'll let Ryan or Paul fill in the details of what happened in their group, but as far as I know, Paul attacked with about 1.5 miles to go, which would have been a good move, forcing the other guys to chase, but he cramped up and was caught. He did, however, keep Ryan out of a strong headwind that led to the finish, and helped Ryan stay as strong as possible for the final sprint. Cressy took the win, Petrowski second, and Ryan was third. Finishing 3rd in a big road race is a huge deal, but of course we were all quickly trying to calculate his overall omnium position.

Ultimately, Ryan won the overall by a substantial margin, earning a third place, and two wins in one weekend. Incredible. I finished in 4th, Paul finisihed 6th and Ciro was 10th overall, earning the team enough BAT points to take the overall slot in the Cat. 3s.

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